Mark Menzies urges Government to support defence jobs

Fylde MP Mark Menzies pressed the Government to support thousands of jobs in Fylde with a commitment to the Combat Air Strategy and Tempest aircraft programme.

Mr Menzies asked in Parliament: "Delivery of the Tempest programme, as driven by BAE Systems in Warton, is essential to managing the future military air requirements of the United Kingdom. Can the Minister confirm continued Government support for the combat air strategy, as outlined by the Prime Minister at Farnborough?"

Stuart Andrew, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence, said "My hon Friend secured a debate on this very issue and is obviously fighting very hard for his constituents who work at BAE Systems.

"The Government continue to deliver the combat air strategy which, as he says, was launched at Farnborough last year.

"That is a big piece of work, which is looking at the future air combat system technology initiative. The Government will continue to look at all innovative technologies that will need to be available, while we explore a broad range of options to deliver capability."

BAE Systems in Warton is leading on the Tempest programme, which will deliver a sixth-generation fighter aircraft to the UK.

Mr Menzies held a debate in Parliament on Tempest last month, calling for full support to ensure the UK retains a resilient defence industry and a skills base.

He also asked the minister: "What steps the Department is taking to maintain the capabilities of UK defence manufacturing."

Mr Andrew told him: "The 2015 strategic defence and security review introduced a new national security objective to promote UK prosperity. We subsequently published strategies for shipbuilding and combat air, and refreshed our defence industrial policy with a new emphasis on supporting growth and competitiveness. On 14 March, we provided an update to Parliament on our ambitious defence prosperity programme."